A Petition to Stop Disney Re-Makes

Okay, so I know everyone is getting really in the spirit of this new Lion King movie that’s set to come out in 2019, with the trailer having been released, a new generation is now able to hear James Earl Jones’ booming voice reminding us of Simba’s kingdom that stretches across the horizon.

Although Beyoncé singing Can You Feel the Love Tonight is everything I’ve ever wanted, I’d be lying if I said I was hugely excited about the upcoming live-action reboots that have been confirmed for release over the next couple of years. Aladdin, Dumbo and Mary Poppins Returns are among the other titles all scheduled for upcoming release.

It seems that what was once a revolutionary and imaginative studio based on innovation can no longer think of any new stories to pass on to their young audiences. They draw you in with stellar casts and Lily James on the cover of a huge poster (yes, I’m bitter) only to have you pay money for a substandard, unimaginative, recycled plot-line with some CGI mixed in.

The only thing is, we’re living in the 21st century and while the aim of these movies is to accommodate the technology that is now so prevalent in the film industry, the paradox we end up reaching is that this technology is no longer impressive. True innovation is something that is incredibly hard to come by, after James Cameron’s 10 year journey into his blue CGI world, it’s just hardly going to cut it to have a few CGI lions running around on a screen. We can no longer appreciate the hand drawn art of Cinderella’s wardrobe transformations or the beautiful hand-drawn landscapes of Sleeping Beauty with the same wonder that we are made to look at computer simulated panthers and bears occupying the same jungle that was so artfully created just over 50 Years ago. Therefore, what is important if you’re going to recycle the same narratives is that the story is new and enticing and as good, if not better than the original.

This was promising with the release of Maleficent, which focused on a darker part of the Sleeping Beauty story, tackling important issues with allegorical discussions of sexual violence all within a fantasy realm which means that the younger audience were perhaps able to be more exposed to ideas that were shielded from them in the usual media. However, the adaptation of the original Disney stories sadly did not continue.

Let’s discuss the live action Cinderella, Richard Madden and Lily James suck you in with their amazing hair and yet there’s no substance underneath the costumes and flair of the movie. Not only did the CGI mean that Cinderella was stuck in an attic talking to realistic mice, making it more gross and crazy than endearing, the music was utterly ignored except for Hayley Atwell’s rendition of ‘Lavender’s Blue’. Director Kenneth Branagh claimed in an interview that he included this tune in the movie because it’s so haunting that “you can’t quite remember where it came from”.

Wrong, Kenneth.

I remember exactly where it came from, it was originally used in Walt Disney’s movie ‘So Dear to My Heart’ which is actually a beautiful love story between a little boy and his goat, so I’d highly recommend watching it. But not only does this show a blatant disregard for Disney musical tradition, but shows a laziness to even connect the elements of Disney narratives that are being taken from its cinematic history.

Moving on, we have Beauty and the Beast, which I actually didn’t hate, although I found Emma Thompson’s cockney accent unnecessary and frankly disturbing, the story did change a little bit, which was I guess was good. And yes, Luke Evans’ chest is always welcome on the big screen, it just felt unnecessary to recycle the same story simply with the inclusion of a narrative connection between Belle and her mother, and a fixation of all the plot holes left from the other movie, there was not actually a lot that impressed apart from the cinematic shifts that occurred in the landscapes.

Mary Poppins Returns, do I need to even go into this if Julie Andrews isn’t confirmed to be in it?

The Lion King, the fact that the trailer literally is exactly the same as the original kind of cements my point.

It seems not only Disney is afflicted with the curse of unnecessary remakes, as rumour has it even the Shrek movies are facing a comeback soon. I mean, I don’t have to explain to you that this is borderline ridiculous, not only did Shrek come out super recently, like Iin 2001, it’s also such a cult classic it seems impossible to do it justice. There’s no way anyone could match the chemistry of Eddie Murphy and Mike Meyers and keep the humour of the original. Please Hollywood, I beg you, think of something new, it’s honestly not hard. I’ll even give you a couple of ideas to get started, real simple, some fairy tales you may have missed in your ‘extensive’ search for new storylines.

1. The Princess and the Pea. Except, the pea is symbolic, a magic pea, which she has to go on some sort of long-winded quest for.

2. Swan Lake.  Ok so this was already done, but come on, I know Disney can draw a better Derek.

3. The Twelve Dancing Princesses, steal from Barbie instead of from your own studio maybe, just an idea.

4. Rumpelstiltskin, like a dark wizard story, that would be pretty legit. 

5. Hell, if you’re so desperate to remake something, go for ‘So Dear to My Heart’ so Kenneth Branagh can get his lesson in Disney history.


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